Designing a Personal Success Story for your life
One of the most powerful means for designing journeys of transformation lies in the structure of myth and story. Every story is designed so that the central character undergoes positive life change. Every other character and every event in the story works together for this purpose. In response to the transformation of the hero, his/her community and even the landscape undergo their own transformation also. It all starts with one person and his/her story.
With this in mind it becomes possible to use story structure as a way to look at your own life and see how it can help you to work with your own personal success. Take a look at the diagram and table below as a starting point. Be mindful of the twighlight zones.
If you want to understand this better take a look at our 8 week face to face story course.
Classic story structure: diagram:
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end, or Act one, Act Two and Act Three. Yet it is the transition between the acts that are the most interesting and fruitful for change and successful transformation of the main character.
Classic story structure: table (to help you with your homework)
- The five stages of classic story structure
- The 6 steps for developing your personal success story.
Two of the stages are italicised. This indicates what I call a “twilight zone”. They are also indicated in the diagram. A twilight zone is a crucial stage for transformation and often is neglected or fumbled because of its complex and paradoxical nature. It is in handling these stages with care and confidence that will make your story successful and stand the test of time.The table shows:
|Stages of a journey||Steps of personal success story|
|1. Call to Adventure: Who is the protagonist and in what way is he stuck in his ordinary world with no way of changing it?What opportunity arises for him to change?||1. Get a Great GoalIn what way are you feeling stuck and frustrated? What opportunity do you have to change this?Set a goal that is realistic and actionable and helps you with knowing what to do now.|
|Preparation for the Journey:What fears do the hero need to overcome/ doubts does he need to settle?Who (mentor) helps him with this and with what (magic tool/weapon)?How does he show his commitment to the journey?||2. Manifest your Main MotivationWhat values drives your choices and which of these support your goal? Can you link it to your identity i.e. what you believe is true of you. What other desires clash with these values?|
|The journey:What tests and trials does he need to face and how does he plan to overcome them?Who are his friends and who are his enemies in facing his challenges?||3. Put together a Personalised PlanWhat are the most important obstacles in the way of your reaching your goal?What plan can you put in place to help you overcome them? E.g. restructure your space and resources and identify small habits to replace old unwanted habits.|
|4. Set up Social Support systemsHow can you get your friends and family to support your goal?How can you eliminate or minimise contact with people who do not support you?|
|Ordeal and reward:What drives him to his near downfall? How does he face and overcome his nemesis?How does he become aware of the big picture? What immediate reward does he receive for his victory?||5. Achieve Authentic AwarenessThis step is almost impossible to design. It does not always hit when you expect it and it seldom works out how you planned. When you come to a very low uncertain place, you are close to it. Yet often you can dip far lower than that first low. Most importantly, when you are there, in anger or sadness and despair, listen for the still small voice of truth inside you that reminds you of the big picture.Reap the rewards of your perseverance, of reaching your goal even if it turns out so very different from the one you set in the first place What sacrifice do you need to make so that you can focus on what really matters?.|
|Return home:How does he cross back into his ordinary world? (usually some ritual involved or a chase)How does he prove his sacrifice/death regarding his old ways?What new response to old problems does he model?How does this embody an elixir that heals his community and his land?||6. Turn over and travel with the tide Ritualise your new behaviour so that it can become automatic. Now go through the actions as you have planned them, draw on your support system and keep behaving yourself to success simply following the current you have created. Beware of streams that pull you off course and fight back but let yourself settle in to a new normal.|
You can join our 8 week face to face story course for a fun personal success story adventure!
For those of you who had joined one of our Personal Success Story workshops, here is a question to engage with in comments to this blog:
Share with one another what sacrifice you may have to make to reach success? In what way does this relate to the sacrifice your character had to make in the story?
Your success depends on your willingness to go on a journey and make sacrifices for what is truly important to you.